Homeschoolers voted their best books to be read aloud

I asked homeschoolers from across the nation which books were their family favorite. The hard part was limiting it to the top five books. Some of them “cheated” by naming a series or two! I gathered all their recommendations and put them into a master list of the best books that homeschoolers loved to read aloud. 

Then, I looked up each book or series on “Goodreads”, a website where readers leave reviews. If I was unfamiliar with the book, I tried to discern the age range to suggest based on the reviews. When you see a suggested range, the range includes the age of a child being read to through and including the age a child could independently read the book until the book might be considered “too young” for the independent reader. But they are not hard and fast rules! And remember, some of these books are also enjoyed by adults. 

Reading to Your Children Is Essential for Emotional Growth

Reading aloud to your children is one of the most important time in your child’s early life. Reading aloud to your children is as essential as milk to a baby! The benefits of reading to your child are much more than a learning experience. There’s bonding, snuggling, laughing together, crying together, being enchanted together…..books can go depths that media simply cannot go. 

Listening to mom or dad’s voice (or an older sibling) goes straight to the soul. The memories created will go deeper than just cognizance. Connecting at a deep level gives your child a strong emotional foundation and those connections can be nurtured through a daily storytime. 

Suggested age brackets are only suggestions

Please be flexible with the suggestions. Be willing to experiment and try a book that is outside the range of your children. In my experience, children will sit for a much higher level of comprehension if they have been read to a lot. They may not understand all of what is being read, but they can catch more than you think! This is useful if you have multiple ages of children to read to. 

For example, when my oldest child was twelve, I read a Shakespeare play, in the original language as part of our daily, after lunch storytime. The twelve-year-old understood the plot and the motives of the characters. Other kids ages 8-11 understood at least most of the plot. The youngest at the time really didn’t understand anything but the snuggle time was important. 

Children’s books aren’t just for children. 

I was surprised at how many reviews of these books included parents loving the story as much as the child. And. A really surprising number were adults who picked up the books again and read them from cover to cover for themselves! (Reminds me of re-reading “Hatchet” by Gary Paulsen.

Adults love reading many of the books on this list

Here’s an example of a book that a lot of adults on Goodreads said they enjoyed reading. 

4  through grandma’s age! The Betsy Tacie Treasury. Here’s what one review said, “The treasury follows 2 (later 3) friends from 5 years old to around 10. They are based on the life of the author, Maude Hart Lovelace. Set in the early 1900s, These books capture the innocence of childhood. There are sad chapters (one girl’s baby sister dies), and some hilarious chapters about kids just being kids.”

The Best Read-Aloud Book List

How this list is arranged

I have arranged the favorite read-aloud books by age first. Some books don’t have an end to the age group since they are also enjoyed by adults. Those books say the age “and up”. Other books include the range that I thought the book or series would be for. You can decide when you get the book.

When I asked homeschoolers to name their favorite books, I also asked them why. Many of them had time to explain and I have included their reasons.  

Here is the list of books that homeschoolers just like you said their family loved. But before you read on, I want to offer the list to you as an exclusive pdf. For FREE! You can print it and have it handy as your To Be Read list. Subscribers get a semi-weekly newsletter and access to a lot of FREE pdfs, so don’t be shy! Grab them all! Get them all with just a click of this blue button!

The Best Read-aloud Book List

Books that have the widest range of intended readers

3 through adult You are Special by Max Lucado

There were two series that tied for being the most often recommended

5 and up Narnia series…. great messages and adventure-the importance of God working in our lives (even as an adult, I learn lessons about God in it)


4-13 The Little House series-The importance of family, I think the Garth Williams illustrations are a great bridge for transitioning from picture books to chapter books. Great character stories while teaching history

Early Listeners

2 through 6 Dr. Suess

 2-6 The Caboose Who Got Loose

2-6 Huge Harold

2-7 Llama Llama… nice cadence like Dr. Seuss

2-7 The Book with No Pictures… silly sounds

Up to 7 with hesitation due to book reviews The Giving Tree

up to 7 Katy No-Pocket

Up to 7 Pickle Chiffon Pie,

up to 8  The Caboose Who Got Loose

3-8 A Visitor for Bear 

Beginner Reader Levels

4-13 Little House series 3X — the importance of family, I think the Garth Williams illustrations are a great bridge for transitioning from picture books to chapter books.

4-13 Old Mother West Wind is precious. (Thornton Burgess) 3X

4-12 Bird book for children Thorton Burgess and any of his books

5-10 Anna Hibiscus series is a favorite. They offer a lovely peek into African family culture, while still being relatable emotionally to any young girl.

5-8 I love the Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems. These funny books are perfect for learning how to read aloud with confidence. Dual reading is fun. I would have my child choose which character they wanted to read. The speech boxes are either pink for Piggie or gray for Elephant. The text is big for big voices and small for low voices. These books help encourage inflection as you read.

5-12 Magic Treehouse (since we are in PA, we told the stories like it was THEM on the adventure)

5 and up All Lois Lenske books, for the same reason as Little House but I think they are no longer published-buy used.

5 and up Green Ember series S.D. Smith

5 and up Little Britches series, voted best 2X — the importance of a strong work ethic (and yes, the last chapter of the first one makes me cry — Every. Time.)

5 through adult Secret Garden…one of my childhood favorites

6 and up Hatchet, great suspense that makes a child want to read more

6-13 Adventures with Waffles

6-13 Detectives in Togas

6-10 Roxie and the Hooligans is far fetched but thrilling and imaginative. It encourages bravery and thinking outside the box to find solutions to difficult problems.

6-13 Who Was? Books.

6 and up Son of the Smokey Sea

6 and up The Captain from Castile

6 and up The Trumpet of the Swan

7-13 American Girl series

7-13 Johnny Appleseed: God’s Faithful Planter, John Chapman

Advancing Reader Level

7-13 The Bronze Bow

7 and up Where the Red Fern Grows

7 and up Robinson Crusoe, yeah-I read the whole thing out loud

7 and up Gregor the Overlander series by Suzanne Collins.

7 and up Adventures with Waffles and I can’t recommend it enough!!!!

7 and up Wingfeather Saga series (Andrew Peterson).

8-12 Redwall… amazing vocabulary and hold interest well

8-12 The Borrowers

8-13 Adam and His Kin: The Lost History of Their Lives and Times 

8-13 Ginger Pye

8 and up Dragonspell series (Donita K. Paul),

8 and up Where the Red Fern Grows Two of us agree that the degree of sadness can be remembered for a long time. It’s still a good book. I cried both times I read it..two different groups of ages in my family:)

8 and up Red Sails of Capri

8 and up Lord of the Rings (yes, I read all those crazy names) by Tolkien, 

8 and up Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

9-12 All the abridged classics (simpler for kids). Mine loved War of the Worlds, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and The Time Machine.

9-15 Carry On, Mr. Bowditch 2X

9-15 Call It Courage

9-15 Little Men (I have boys)

More Advanced

10 and up black beauty (struggling through this one with comprehension)

10 and up A Little Princess 2x

10 and up Summer of the Monkeys” by Wilson Rawls, (Same guy who wrote “Where the Red Fern Grows.”)

11-14 Grammarland

12 and up Children of the New Forest

12 and up The Swallows and Amazons series

Audio Book plug! 

From one homeschool mom: I load my audio guy up with audiobooks – Tolkien is a favorite, Jim Hodges recordings of GA Henty are probably second favorite 

Don’t forget! You can get the list in a handy pdf for free. If you decide to unsubscribe after you get it, no hard feelings! But, once you see what is in the library, you might want to stick around because I’m always adding freebies to the library! 

When you join our community, you’ll receive access to FREE printable workbooks, including the unit study workbook, student chapters for my kid’s botany lessons,gardening tips, food preservation and more.

Gather the kids! Get the book!

Now you have so many to choose from, you will be reading for a long time. Making great memories together. Homeschoolers like you voted these the best read-aloud books that your family will love.

A photo of the author, Deborah Schreffler

Debbie Schreffler

Veteran Homeschooler, avid gardener, and proud grandma

I believe that you can design a peaceful lifestyle while you homeschool, complete with a garden if you want, and meals that will make the best memories you ever could imagine!

I homeschooled seven kids through high school, starting them all with a lot of planned, hands-on activities. Then, I centered subjects around the activities. That gave them lots of room for their natural curiosity to be satisfied as they learned about God’s world.

Let me help you teach kids, grow food, and stay calm!

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.Mat 6:33 CSB

When you join our community, you'll receive access to FREE printable workbooks, including the unit study workbook, student chapters for my kid's botany lessons,gardening tips, food preservation and more.

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